Congress must appoint an independent counsel and commission to determine whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to win the 2016 Election.
Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates mortally wounded President Trump yesterday when she testified before a senate subcommittee regarding what she told White House Counsel Don McGahn when she warned him about National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. President Trump fired her two days later.
Although she declined to discuss what prompted her to warn McGahn, because the information is classified and the FBI is investigating Flynn, I think it’s clear from the available evidence that Flynn had 5 phone calls with the Russian ambassador on 12/29 to assure him that Trump was going to remove the sanctions that Obama had just imposed that day against Russia for interfering in our election. No other explanation makes any sense.
I think it’s also clear that Flynn lied to the FBI when they questioned him about those phone calls on 1/25, and that’s why Yates warned McGahn the following day that they had a national security problem with Flynn. Lying to the FBI is a felony pursuant to 18 USC 1001 and his lies made him potentially vulnerable to Russian blackmail because they had transcripts of those calls.
According to Press Secretary Sean Spicer, WH counsel told Trump about Yates’s concerns the next day.
After firing Yates on 1/30, Trump did nothing about the situation for 18 days until after the WaPo published its story about Flynn lying to Pence about the calls with the Russian ambassador. Trump fired Flynn, but blamed the media for forcing him to do it.
This 18 day gap may bring down Trump’s presidency.
Trump later said that, although he did not order Flynn to contact the Russian ambassador, he would have if Flynn had not already done so.
Considered by itself, this incident does not prove the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to influence the outcome of the election, but it certainly raises serious questions that need answers. For example, Trump fired Sally Yates on 1/30, ostensibly because she refused to back his Muslim immigration ban. However, earlier that day, she had her final contact with the White House counsel about Flynn. Yet, Trump contacted the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel and ordered them to proceed with enforcing the Muslim travel ban without notifying Yates. In other words, he did not even bother to discuss her objections to the ban before he fired her. This makes no sense unless he had already decided to fire her because she was attacking Flynn. Therefore, I have concluded that he probably used her objection to his Muslim travel ban as a cover for protecting Flynn.
Trump benefited from Russian hacking and interference in the November 8th election and he invited the Russians at a press conference on 7/27 to hack into the Democratic National Committee’s computers. If Trump intended to cancel the reasonable and appropriate sanctions that Obama imposed on 12/29, I think Congress has a responsibility to find out if Trump assisted the Russians or merely reaped the benefits of their interference. As Flynn’s lawyer recently said in support of a request for immunity from prosecution, Flynn “certainly has a story to tell.” If Trump assisted, he should be impeached and prosecuted.
With few exceptions, Republicans have resisted efforts to determine whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to interfere with the 2016 election to defeat Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump. Given their resistance despite Trump’s unwavering support of Putin and Flynn, we need an independent prosecutor and commission to get to the bottom of this scandal.